Brown Opposes Plans For Arcade In Downpatrick

Amusement arcade in Downpatrick 'a mistake 'says Brown

Amusement arcade in Downpatrick ‘a mistake ‘says Brown

Plans to turn the former Bank of Ireland building in Downpatrick into an amusement arcade would be a “massive mistake” warns Patrick Brown, South Down MLA.

He said: “The proposed plans from Oasis Retail Services Limited would see a £350,000 refurbishment of the site.

“I want to see major investment in Downpatrick, a town which has been overlooked for so long. I campaigned with the message to ‘restore our county town’ and I am working hard to bring stakeholders together to transform Downpatrick.”

The site of the former Bank of Ireland in Downpatrick. Plans are proposed to change it to an amusement arcade.

“We need to look at things like rates reform, building on our rich historic significance, an evening economy strategy, improvements to infrastructure and of course attracting private business into the area, however, an arcade is not a natural fit for our town.”

“Elements of these establishments can feed on deprivation and encourage gambling addiction. We need positive investment for the town, which adds to the lives of people that live here.”

This area of Market Street in Downpatrick was once a bustling and thriving part of the old market town when Downpatrick once had around 40 licensed premises, and a mart at the site of what is now Lidl’s supermarket. Many of the local farmers would have imbibed close by at Rae’s bar and restaurant and at The Mart Bar many years ago.

I can remember working in a seafood seafood shop originally set up by the late Frank Zych from Ardglass and taken over by the Wills family in the 80’s at the Bank of Ireland site just before the bank then renovated several of the properties.

Perhaps this project needs to be looked at against what is envisaged in the new Downpatrick Master Plan to ensure it is compatible with Downpatrick’s future development.